5 Discovery Question Categories

In Sales by JimBarker22

It’s sad to say, but not every inquiry into your products or services will mature into a win. Knowing when it’s time to cut bait and move on is the key to your success. Every second wasted is not only wasting your time, but delaying your next client from time spent with you.

Asking the right discovery questions is important. Most discovery questions fall into one of five categories:

Probing

Ex: “What problems do you have with your current system?”

The purpose of this type of discovery question is to determine the needs of the client. The answer provides the foundation for the rest of the conversation, which is why it must always come first. By listening and taking notes, you’re able to explain how your company provides solutions to the client’s problems.

History

Ex: “Which solutions have you tried?”

Often overlooked, this is a crucial discovery question. It’s likely that the client has used at least one other solution before, but there were shortcomings that necessitated a change. You need to know the history of solutions that they’ve tried in the past, so you can explain how your solution is different.

Analysis

Ex: “What’s working for you right now?”

Though there are problems with what the client is using right now, there has to be a reason why they selected their current solution in the first place. The answer to this question allows you to ease concerns that your proposal is a side grade to their current setup. For example, a client may be looking to replace their customer relationship management software.  Yet, they love the mobile device support of their current platform. If your software doesn’t offer the same level of support or better, the client will not be happy with your solution, so it’s best to move on.

Timetable

Ex: “How soon would you like the new solution in place?” or “What is your timeline for implementation?”

Some clients are ready for you to act as soon as they sign the contract, while others need time to transition. The importance of asking about a timetable as a discovery question is that it helps you analyze whether you have the resources to act as quickly as the client expects. A client that demands you supply a thousand uniforms in seven days might be impossible to please if you don’t have the spare capacity to meet that order.

Decisions

Ex: “Who’s involved in making the final decision?”

Many times the person you’re speaking to is only there to gather information. They may then pass it on to someone else with their notes and recommendations. The more distance there is between the person you speak to and the decision makers, the longer the approval process and less likely you will win.

You must track down every sales lead, but it’s not cost efficient to invest time and energy into a pitch when you know it won’t close. These discovery questions will help you improve the speed of your sales channel.

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